March 21, 2018
You were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb. ~ Psalm 22:10
The meaning here may be no more than that the psalmist’s existence has always been utterly dependent on God. In the first half of the verse he affirms that “I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born,” and some would argue that he’s merely saying the same thing with different words, as Hebrew poets often did. (It’s called “synonymous parallelism,” when a line repeats the idea of the one before it.) And yet, surely the two statements are not merely equivalents. “When I was still in my mother’s womb” asserts personal existence for an unborn child, as “you were my God” implies a personal relationship of some kind between that child and its Creator. It’s well known that the Scriptures do not explicitly affirm the personhood of the unborn, but given the abundance of statements similar to this, might that not be simply because it was never questioned by anyone and therefore never an issue? The Lord tells Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). We’re told that, as a “babe,” John “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb when she was greeted by her cousin Mary (Luke 1:41,44). In another psalm we read, “thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). The reason “you were my God” in utero is that I was made in your image. That making begins with the coming together of male and female, for it is in that relation that the image of God is found: “God created man in his own image; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26). God’s image is not somehow divided between man and woman. Were that so, neither would fully bear it separately. Rather, it is fully present in each individual, formed in the womb by the union of sperm and egg. Abortion, therefore, is not just the taking of an innocent life or the violation of a defenseless human person. It is an attack on God himself through the willful destruction of what he has created in his own image.